Local youth will have an opportunity this summer to ace their skills on the tennis court.
Midwest Youth Team Tennis will offer a camp for children in kindergarten through ninth grade in three different sessions June 18 through 22 at the Brownstown Central High School tennis courts.
Kindergarten through second grade will have camp from 9 to 9:45 a.m., followed by grades 3 through 5 from 10 to 10:45 a.m. and grades 6 through 9 from 11 to 11:45 a.m.
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Following the United States Tennis Association Youth Tennis play format, participants will use modified equipment and courts tailored to their age and size, making it easier to play, rally and succeed from the start.
Team-based games will be set up to help players further develop their tennis skills.
Kids can register for the camp online at midwest teamtennis.com. Registration closes Friday. The cost is $55, which includes a team T-shirt, a tennis racket, a ball and a goody bag. Participants will pick up equipment at camp.
Cameron Benjamin from the USTA helped Brownstown physical education teachers Jane Weisman and Jennifer Schneider put the camp together.
On Friday, Benjamin visited the elementary and middle schools to run kids through a few tennis drills.
She learned many of the students had played tennis before. She told the kids they need great footwork, quickness and agility to be successful on the tennis court.
“I don’t want you to get frustrated,” Benjamin told the students new to the sport. “Have some fun. There’s a first time for everything.”
Weisman, the PE teacher at Brownstown Central Middle School, said she heard about the USTA’s free tennis rackets for schools program from a SHAPE PE conference she attended.
“I try to go to the national SHAPE conferences every year because I always come back with great new games and new ways to teach my middle school kids,” she said.
Having coached middle school tennis for more than 10 years, she said she wanted to bring tennis to more Brownstown kids.
“Tennis is a great sport that kids in this area can play for the rest of their life,” she said.
Weisman is in charge of the camp, and Schneider is helping with the elementary kids. High school tennis coaches Erik Stangland and Mitchell Taylor and their players also will help with the camp.
“The hope is we can put at least two high school kids on every court to work with the kids,” Weisman said.
Campers will walk away from the experience with a tennis racket and enough tennis knowledge to make them want to continue with the sport, she said.
“I know this camp will help our local tennis program,” Weisman said. “Every year, I get kids on my team that have never played before. I have to spend lots of time with the basics. After this camp and future camps, I expect kids to know the basics well enough that we can start further along.”
She said it doesn’t matter if the kids wind up playing tennis for a Brownstown school or not. She just wants them to have fun and keep on playing.
“I am looking forward to giving kids the opportunity to learn a great lifetime sport that doesn’t require an entire team to play,” Weisman said. “They can call up a friend or play with a family member like I did growing up.”
She said kids today are so focused on their phones, tablets and various forms of social media that they are missing out on being social with people in real life.
“Learning to play tennis, or any sport for that matter, puts them back into the situation where they can meet new people and make friends regardless of where they go in their future,” Weisman said.
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What: Brownstown Youth Team Tennis camp
When: June 18 through 22 (Kindergarten through second grade from 9 to 9:45 a.m., grades 3 through 5 from 10 to 10:45 a.m. and grades 6 through 9 from 11 to 11:45 a.m.)
Where: Tennis courts at Brownstown Central High School, 500 N. Elm St., Brownstown (if it rains, camp will be in the gymnasium at Brownstown Central Middle School, 520 W. Walnut St., Brownstown)
Cost: $55 (includes a team T-shirt, a tennis racket, a ball and a goody bag; participants will pick up equipment at camp)
Deadline: Register online at midwestteamtennis.com by Friday
Information: Jane Weisman at 812-498-0917 or [email protected]